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Steven Biegalski - Georgia Tech College of Engineering. Atlanta, GA, US

Steven Biegalski

Professor, Program Chair, Mechanical Engineering | Georgia Tech College of Engineering


Steven Biegalski is an expert on nuclear analytical methods, research isotope production, and nuclear forensics.



Steven Biegalski Publication






Steven Biegalski is the Chair of Nuclear and Radiological Engineering and Medical Physics Program at Georgia Institute of Technology. He has three degrees in nuclear engineering from University of Maryland, University of Florida, and University of Illinois, respectively. Early in his career Dr. Biegalski was the Director of Radionuclide Operations at the Center for Monitoring Research. In this position Dr. Biegalski led international efforts to develop and implement radionuclide effluent monitoring technologies. This work supported both US national capabilities and international treaties. Dr. Biegalski was a faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin for 15 years and held the position of Reactor Director for The University of Texas at Austin TRIGA reactor for over a decade. He has advised 25 Ph.D. students to graduation and holds Professional Engineering licenses in the states of Texas and Virginia.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Research Isotope Production

Nuclear Reactors

Nuclear Forensics

US Nuclear Production

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Nuclear Analytical Methods

Education (3)

University of Illinois: Ph.D. 1996

University of Florida: M.E. 1992

University of Maryland: B.S. 1991

Affiliations (2)

  • ANS Member
  • PEEC Member

Selected Media Appearances (5)

After a String of Nuclear Incidents, Russia Just Launched a Floating Nuclear Power Plant. Is It Safe?

TIME  online


Steven Biegalski, the Chair of Nuclear and Radiological Engineering and Medical Physics Program at Georgia Institute of Technology, tells TIME that whether a nuclear reactor is kept on a boat or on land, the priority is the same––making sure that that the core is kept cool if it’s shut down. “The nice thing is that if you submerge the whole reactor system, including the reactor vessel, under water, it’s going to get as much cooling as you can possibly want,” Biegalski says. “If you put the reactor core in an Arctic Ocean off the coast of Russia, would probably provide enough of a cooling sink that you don’t have to worry about the reactor concerns...”

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Plant Vogtle Update: Further Behind Schedule, Still Billions Over Budget

GPB  online


Steven Biegalski, the chair of Nuclear and Radiological Engineering and Medical Physics Program at Georgia Institute of Technology, stopped by On Second Thought to explain what's happening at Plant Vogtle.

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$25 Million Award Will Support Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D, Education

Georgia Tech  online


At Georgia Tech, the effort will also include Steven Biegalski, professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and chair of the Nuclear and Radiological Engineering and Medical Physics Program; Tim Lieuwen, executive director of the Strategic Energy Institute and a professor in the School of Aerospace Engineering; Amit Jariwala, senior academic professional in the School of Mechanical Engineering; Bernard Kippelen, the Joseph M. Pettit Professor and director of the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics, and Chris Summers, professor emeritus and director of the Phosphor Technology Center of Excellence...

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Nuclear nonproliferation: $25M for new tech, developing security workforce

Michigan News  online


Igor Jovanovic, U-M professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, is the associate director for the national laboratories within MTV and the lead for Thrust 1. Steven Biegalski, professor of nuclear and radiological engineering at Georgia Tech, leads Thrust 2. Milton Garçes, a researcher at the University of Hawaii at Mãnoa, leads Thrust 3.

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What a troubled power plant tells us about the future of nuclear energy in the U.S.

Mashable  online


“Each of the power plants should be able to roughly be able to supply electricity to roughly 1.75 million houses,” nuclear and radiation engineer Steve Biegalski said. The energy from Vogtle would help to displace energy from coal-fired power plants, which is the third largest energy source in Georgia. “Over the lifetime of the power plants, 300 million tons of CO2 admissions will be displaced from the atmosphere,” Biegalski said.

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Selected Articles (5)

Utilization of Radioxenon Monitoring to Aid Severe Nuclear Accident Response

Nuclear Emergencies

2019 Radioxenon isotopes are produced with high yield from nuclear fission. The noble gas properties facilitate migration through nuclear fuel. At fuel temperatures present in a severe nuclear accident, the release fraction of xenon isotopes from the UO2 matrix approaches 100%. Consequently, a breech in fuel cladding integrity during a severe nuclear accident will likely lead to a radioxenon release. This radioxenon release provides an early signature indicating fuel damage. Fuel was significantly damaged at the Windscale (1957), Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), and Fukushima Daiichi (2011) nuclear reactor accidents, and radioxenon releases were early indicators of the extent of fuel damage for these events. Radioxenon isotopes are an optimum indicator as their half-lives are long enough to be detected but not too long to cause significant environmental background accumulation.

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Source term estimation of radioxenon released from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactors using measured air concentrations and atmospheric transport modeling

Journal of Environmental Radioactivity

2014 Systems designed to monitor airborne radionuclides released from underground nuclear explosions detected radioactive fallout across the northern hemisphere resulting from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in March 2011. Sampling data from multiple International Modeling System locations are combined with atmospheric transport modeling to estimate the magnitude and time sequence of releases of 133Xe. Modeled dilution factors at five different detection locations were combined with 57 atmospheric concentration measurements of 133Xe taken from March 18 to March 23 to estimate the source term. This analysis suggests that 92% of the 1.24 × 1019 Bq of 133Xe present in the three operating reactors at the time of the earthquake was released to the atmosphere over a 3 d period. An uncertainty analysis bounds the release estimates to 54–129% of available 133Xe inventory.

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Analysis of data from sensitive US monitoring stations for the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor accident

Journal of Environmental Radioactivity

2012 The March 11, 2011 9.0 magnitude undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan and subsequent tsunami waves triggered a major nuclear event at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station. At the time of the event, units 1, 2, and 3 were operating and units 4, 5, and 6 were in a shutdown condition for maintenance. Loss of cooling capacity to the plants along with structural damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami resulted in a breach of the nuclear fuel integrity and release of radioactive fission products to the environment. Fission products started to arrive in the United States via atmospheric transport on March 15, 2011 and peaked by March 23, 2011. Atmospheric activity concentrations of 131I reached levels of 3.0 × 10−2 Bq m−3 in Melbourne, FL. The noble gas 133Xe reached atmospheric activity concentrations in Ashland, KS of 17 Bq m−3. While these levels are not health concerns, they were well above the detection capability of the radionuclide monitoring systems within the International Monitoring System of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

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Elevated radioxenon detected remotely following the Fukushima nuclear accident

Journal of Environmental Radioactivity

2011 We report on the first measurements of short-lived gaseous fission products detected outside of Japan following the Fukushima nuclear releases, which occurred after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. The measurements were conducted at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), (46°16′47″N, 119°16′53″W) located more than 7000 km from the emission point in Fukushima Japan (37°25′17″N, 141°1′57″E). First detections of 133Xe were made starting early March 16, only four days following the earthquake. Maximum concentrations of 133Xe were in excess of 40 Bq/m3, which is more than ×40,000 the average concentration of this isotope is this part of the United States.

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Characterization of the Gent stacked filter unit PM10 sampler

Aerosol Science and Technology

1997 An integral part of several International Atomic Energy Agency sponsored coordinated research programmes involving the sampling and analysis of ambient airborne particules was the development of a PM10 sampler. Each participant was provided with such a sampler so that comparable samples would be obtained by each of the participating groups. Thus, in order to understand the characteristics of this sampler, we undertoke several characterization studies in which we examined the aerodynamic collection characteristics of the impactor inlet and the reproducibility of the sample mass collection. One of the samplers machined in Belgium was compared with one built from the same design in the U.S. and comparable results were obtained. The sampler was operated side-by-side with a commercial PM10 beta gauge and an IMPROVE-design 2.5 μm cut-point cyclone. Although the sampler was not wind tunnel tested as required for certification as a reference sampler, it does provide a collection efficiency that generally follows the guidelines for a PM10 sampler.

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